Instant Games are casual titles that can be shared and played in messenger apps such as Facebook Messenger. Facebook launched Instant Games in 2016, and it saw good results with games such as Zynga’s Words With Friends and the arcade game Tetris. In April, the platform exited its beta phase, and Facebook enabled in-app purchases as a means of monetizing Instant Games on May 7. It has also added in-game ads and livestreaming.
At the outset, Facebook said developers would receive 70 percent of the Instant Games revenue, with 30 percent going to Facebook. But on Android, developers also had to share 30 percent of their revenue with Google. In fact, Google took 30 percent of the total, and then Facebook took 30 percent of what was left. Developers were left getting only 49 percent of the total revenue on games they had created.
After evaluating this, Facebook has decided to roll back its revenue share, so the developers only have to pay Google on Android.
In the mean time, ad units are rolling out in open beta in the coming weeks for Instant Games, enabling developers to run user-acquisition campaigns. The ad format is a click-to-play experience, where players go from seeing and clicking an ad on a Facebook platform and go directly playing an Instant Game on Facebook and Messenger. In those campaigns, developers pay Facebook for the advertisements, and so Facebook can still generate revenue from Instant Games.
Facebook announced it would do this back in March. In-app purchases are now available for Instant Games on the Facebook mobile app for Android.
Regarding the revenue share, Facebook will apply the new model retroactively, starting August 1. For web versions of Instant Games that are played on Facebook.com, Facebook will still collect a 30 percent share on in-app purchases.
Facebook said it wants to make sure the Instant Games platform is rooted in strong economics for developers, said Chris Hawkins, a partner engineer on the Instant Games team.